Howard woman charged in death of son found in trunk of car

Published: Apr. 30, 2020 at 12:06 PM CDT
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A Howard woman has been charged in the child neglect death of her five-year-old son with disabilities who was found dead in the trunk of her vehicle.

Nine counts have been filed in Brown County against Sagal Hussein, 25:

Count 1: Chronic Neglect of a Child (Consequence is Death)

Count 2: Move/Hide/Bury Corpse of Child

Count 3: Neglecting a Child (Harm Did Not Occur and Child Under 6 Years or Disability)

Count 4: Neglecting a Child (Specified Harm Did Not Occur)

Count 5-9: Resisting or Obstructing an Officer

A criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News details the allegations against Hussein. On Jan. 26, the Brown County Sheriff's Office was called to a residence in Howard for a welfare check on two children who were alone outside. A deputy made contact with their mother, Sagal Hussein. The deputy contacted Child Protective Services.

CPS followed up and discovered Hussein had a third child who was not there. Investigators wanted to know where the child was. Sagal said the boy was living with his father in Michigan. A follow up with the boy's father found that to be false.

Investigators learned that the boy hadn't been in school for weeks. They were informed that the boy used a wheelchair and was dependent on others for feeding.

The investigation continued. The criminal complaint stated Hussein had no way to show the boy was safe or alive.

On March 27, officers executed a warrant to search Sagal Hussein's home.

On March 30, the Brown County Sheriff's Office found Hussein's vehicle parked at a friend's home on Smith St.

The vehicle was taken to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab. A search turned up decomposed remains of a child in a duffel bag, according to the complaint.

The Dane County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on the boy. The doctor stated the boy was "significantly undernourished, mummified, had mold in places on his body, and that a long dark color hair was located on his left thigh." Based on decomposition, the medical examiner believed the boy had been dead for months before he was found in the trunk.

Investigators learned that the boy had been on seizure medications but Hussein had stopped giving them to him. Hussein claimed that the medications were not working and had side effects on the boy. Hussein stated the boy had cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Hussein stated she had been using CBD oil instead of medication for the seizures.

An investigator asked Hussein if the boy had a medical condition that may have caused him to die and if she tried to get rid of the boy's body. The investigators stated Hussein showed no emotion during the conversation.

Investigators reviewed a phone call between Hussein and the child's father in which Hussein said she "f--d up" and stated that an investigator wanted to know where her son was.

Investigators spoke to a family advocate for the Howard-Suamico School District who had met with Sagal and the family during two home visits in 2018. During these visits, the advocate never met the boy and stated she thought that was odd. The advocate stated they had filed a CPS report in late 2018 over concerns about the boy being left home alone.

A social worker with the school district stated she tried multiple times to reach out to the family about support services and special education for the boy, but rarely received a response.

A former daycare teacher who had the boy her classroom stated he was non-verbal and described him as "very thin." He was in a baby stroller, and the teacher thought it provided inadequate support for him.

CPS was contacted over concerns that the boy was not getting enough to eat at home and the inadequate stroller.

After the boy's death, the father traveled from California to Green Bay. He told officers that he was the primary care provider for the kids when he was with them. In January 2019, he said he "became fed up with Sagal and not helping care for the kids." That's when he moved to California.

Medical records showed the family had missed multiple doctor's appointments for the boy. Some were no-shows.

Records showed the boy had a "serious seizure history." March 18, 2019, was the last known time that the boy's seizure medication was refilled.

Hussein was arrested. She appeared in court earlier this month for a probable cause hearing. Official charges were filed April 29.

Hussein is being held on a $500,000 cash bond.